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Four theories about the Hall of Fame voting changes

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So I have three – no, wait, just thought of another one, so four – theories about the Baseball Hall of Fame’s decision to reduce the time a player can spend on the ballot from 15 years to 10. I am not opposed to this rule, by the way. I have long thought 15 years was too long for a player to be on the ballot. And I am absolutely for some changes in the Hall of Fame process.

But the Hall of Fame isn’t changing the rule now based on my idle thinking. They are sending a message.

The question is: What is the message?

Before offering my four theories on the message, let’s review. For many years now, the Hall of Fame balloting process has been like so: A 10-year Major League veteran is eligible to go on the Hall of Fame ballot five years after retirement. The ballot is then voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America, which is one of the oldest sports writing groups in America. The BBWAA is, in theory, comprised of writers who covered Major League Baseball for at least 10 years. It is, in practice, a bit more unwieldy. We’ll get back to that later.

Anyway, the BBWAA is independent of the Hall of Fame itself. If a player gets 75% of the BBWAA vote, he is elected into the Hall. If the player doesn’t get elected but gets at least 5% of the vote, he will be retained on the ballot next year – this process lasting up to 15 years. Now, a player cannot be on the ballot more than 10 years.

Here is a list of players who made the ballot AFTER their 10th year:

Bert Blyleven (2011, 14th year)

Jim Rice (2009, 15th year)

Bruce Sutter (2006, 13th year)

Duke Snider (1980, 11th year)

Bob Lemon (1976, 12th year)

Ralph Kiner (1975, 13th year)

Dazzy Vance (1955, 16th year)

Gabby Hartnett (1955, 12th year)

Rabbit Maranville (1954, 14th year)

Bill Terry (1954, 14th year)

Harry Heilmann (1952, 12th year)

What would the Hall of Fame be like without those players? I actually think the question is moot because (1) If the limit was 10 years instead of 15, there’s a pretty good chance that all those players would have gained ground in the voting more quickly and (2) I’m convinced that all of those players would have been elected into the Hall of Fame eventually by one of the Hall of Fame’s countless veteran’s committees.

Now to the theories: Why did the Hall of Fame reduce the years a player can be on the ballot?

Theory 1: Because they don’t want performance enhancing drug users in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Well, this is the one that immediately jumps to the surface: The Hall of Fame leadership has been very coy about the steroid question, tending to hide behind the BBWAA’s staunch and literal reading of the character clause. I have suspected for a while that deep down Hall of Fame management agrees with this staunch and literal reading and does not want known steroid users in its plaque room.

Why not? A couple of reasons. First, much of the Hall of Fame’s mission revolves around a good relationship with its alumni. It’s a symbiotic relationship. Getting elected to the Hall greatly enhances a player’s value as a speaker, as an autograph signer, a fantasy camper and so on. At the same time, the Hall of Fame needs Hall of Famers to come to Cooperstown (and other places) for Hall of Fame events to help keep the Hall vibrant and alive. I think the directors know that the vast majority of living Hall of Famers do not want steroids users in their club.

Second is the embarrassment factor. The last time the Hall of Fame changed a voting rule was 1991, and that was to make sure that no player on baseball’s permanently ineligible list (see: Rose, Pete) should be included on the Hall of Fame ballot. Some in the BBWAA moaned but the Hall acted because even the slight chance of having Rose elected to the Hall was an embarrassment the Hall of Fame could not afford. The Hall of Fame has a close relationship with MLB, but it is a separate entity – the last thing they wanted to do was infuriate the commissioner and other baseball leaders by inducting Pete Rose just after baseball had spent so much effort banning him.

And even beyond that, I think the Hall of Fame saw a Hall of Fame ceremony surrounding Pete Rose as a potential public relations disaster. I suspect many at the Hall see a ceremony surrounding Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds the same way.

By reducing the limit from 15 to 10 years, they are basically eliminating any possibility of players like Mark McGwire (entering his 9th year on the ballot) being elected, and they are SIGNIFICANTLY reducing the chances for players like Bonds and Clemens (each entering their third years). Their only hope, slight as it was, came with time, a decade or more, and voters easing their views on PED use. It wasn’t likely to happen in the dozen or so years they had left. It almost certainly won’t happen now with five fewer years.

But to be honest, I don’t think the steroid users were a prime consideration here. The Hall leadership may not want Bonds or Clemens elected, but it never really looked like they would be anyway. And I don’t think the Hall of Fame directors are manipulative in this way. I’m sure they’re not weeping for Bonds or Clemens, but I don’t believe that was the impetus here.

Theory 2: The Baseball Hall of Fame wants to maintain exclusivity.

This was the instant theory of Graham Womack, among others – that the Hall of Fame is simply making a small adjustment to make sure that the Baseball Hall of Fame stays the most exclusive in all of American sports. There is some credence to this theory because the Hall of Fame made a weird decision to grandfather in Don Mattingly (entering his 15th year), Alan Trammell (14th) and Lee Smith (13th) – none of whom are likely to come close to election — while not making any concessions for players like Tim Raines (8th year), who has been making steady gains.

Raines seems to be the biggest loser in this decision. He has been building momentum and you could see a path for him to the Hall of Fame, but probably not in the next three years. The ballot is already stacked and it is about it add Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, then Ken Griffey, then Manny Ramirez and Ivan Rodriguez. Raines was always going to get buried the next three years. His hope was to weather the storm and emerge after his 10th year. Now, he won’t have that chance, and that’s a shame.

But, again, I have to say I don’t put much stock in this theory, again for two reasons:

1. I don’t think the Hall of Fame directors are concerned about the Hall of Fame becoming overcrowded (PED use aside). My sense in talking with people who have intimate knowledge about the Hall is that, if anything, the Hall of Fame would like to add MORE players from the last 40 or so years. I know that many in the Hall were very disappointed that Jack Morris, for example, was not elected. I think the Hall would be thrilled if Tim Raines was elected.

2. As you will see in my concluding theory, I believe the Hall of Fame wants to use those five years to elect MORE players, not fewer.

Theory 3: The Hall of Fame wants to clean up some of the BBWAA untidiness.

Now, we are getting to the point. In addition to the 15-to-10-year rule change, the Hall of Fame also announced a couple of smaller changes. They announced that Hall of Fame voters will have to fill out a registration form and sign a code of conduct. This, I must say, is LONG overdue. They also announced that the names of the voters will be released to the public, though the individual ballots will not. This too is a good decision — I would be for releasing everything but I understand the arguments.

I’m going to write a bit from here on out about the BBWAA – this is the very definition of inside baseball talk – and I should begin by saying that I’m a member, and that overall I have very good feelings about the group. There are problems, sure, and the BBWAA is obviously in transition right now. That said, I think the vast majority of BBWAA members take their Hall of Fame vote very seriously and together have gotten most of their votes right. The Baseball Hall of Fame is probably the most respected and talked about Hall of Fame in American sports, and I think the BBWAA has been a big reason why.

And now for the rest … the BBWAA has had its share of embarrassments recently. There was the Dan Le Batard Deadspin ballot and how that whole thing was mishandled. There are several BBWAA voters who are clearly not qualified.

And then there are the times. The BBWAA began as an organization that fought for the rights of baseball writers – this in a time when baseball was the biggest sport in America, and every big league city had several newspapers covering the teams. The BBWAA was there to fight for access, for adequate working conditions, for professionalism in the press box. When the Hall of Fame sprung up as an idea, the BBWAA was not only the best organization to choose the most worthy players it was the ONLY organization. There was no television. Radio was just beginning.

Now? Well, I don’t need to tell you what has happened and what is happening to newspapers. The Internet dominates the landscape. The biggest baseball covering entity in the world, by far, is MLB.com (whose members are not allowed in the BBWAA except when grandfathered in). Even the very act of sports writing is changing – baseball writers are, almost without exception, asked to mix their writing with some blend of video and radio and social media. It becomes harder and harder to tell the difference between so-called writers and so-called broadcasters. And yet the BBWAA never has included broadcasters. It has only recently included non-newspaper writers. At no point have baseball people like Bob Costas, Bill James, Vin Scully or Dan Shulman, among countless others, voted for the Hall of Fame.

It grows harder and harder to explain why.

I think the Hall of Fame would like to tighten up the BBWAA process. The 15-year process has always been clunky. And it’s even harder in today’s world, where everything moves so fast and everything is so magnified. We in the BBWAA spend way too much time arguing about players and leaving them in limbo. And I say that knowing full well that I’m a huge part of the problem. The last five years of the Jack Morris debate became unseemly, and I probably contributed to that more than anyone. I don’t dislike Jack Morris; I just believe that he falls a touch short of the Hall of Fame line. That should have been an easy line to draw. But when you argue that point again and again every year, that line gets blurred. Ten years is plenty. If anything it is too long.

But, I don’t think it stops here. I have one more theory.

Theory 4: The Hall of Fame is setting up for some major changes.

A few years ago, the Hall of Fame created a Special Committee on the Negro Leagues for the purpose of researching black baseball before 1960 and creating a book and an exhibit. It was a noble thing. As part of the process, a screening committee created a 29-person Negro Leagues Hall of Fame ballot made up of players, managers, owners, contributors. The ballot was then voted on by a 12-person voting committee. The voting committee, as far as I’ve been told, had no restrictions – they were free to vote all 29 people if they chose.

They chose to vote in 17 of them – a huge number of people to put into the Hall of Fame at once. But, even in the deluge, they did not vote in the two most prominent people (and the only two living members) on the ballot, Buck O’Neil and Minnie Miñoso. The exclusion of Buck was particularly outrageous because he was such a beloved figure and because – I have been told this by people who would know – getting Buck O’Neil into the Hall of Fame was the biggest reason the Hall of Fame had created these committees and set up this vote in the first place.

When it became clear that voting for Buck was not going well, former commissioner Fay Vincent, who was serving as non-voting chair of the committee, gave an impassioned plea to reconsider. Impassioned but ineffective. Buck still fell short. I’ve heard a hundred reasons for it, none which make much sense to me. But the point is not to rehash Buck’s vote but to point out this: The people at the Hall of Fame felt utterly impotent. This committee they had put together to celebrate baseball had, instead, given them 17 new Hall of Famers almost nobody knew and snubbed the two people fans not only knew but cared about deeply. The announcement came off terribly, and the induction ceremony was a dreary afterthought except for the singing of Buck O’Neil, who graciously agreed to speak on behalf of the Hall of Famers.

Since then the Hall of Fame has put a statue of Buck O’Neil in a place of honor at the museum and created the Buck O’Neil Award, given to those who, like Buck, gave their life to the game.

And I think the Hall of Fame leadership learned a hard lesson: Museum or not, you can’t just give up complete control of your own business.

The Hall of Fame has mostly allowed the BBWAA to do its work with little interference (the Pete Rose thing aside). But they have always kept some control. From the start, the Hall of Fame took responsibility for electing 19th Century players. And, through the years, the Hall of Fame created various veteran’s committees and Negro Leagues committees to put in players overlooked or never voted on by the BBWAA.

And now, I think they want to wrest more control back. By taking away five years of the BBWAA’s voting, the Hall can have their own committees consider players five years sooner. This is why I’m not sure the Tim Raines news is bad – the BBWAA might have voted in Raines by his 15th year but, then again, they might not have. I think Raines’ Hall of Fame fate – like Jack Morris’ – might be better off in the hands of the Hall of Fame and whatever committees they put together.

The Hall of Fame sees what’s happening. They see the world changing. They understand the BBWAA is evolving, baseball coverage is evolving, the idea of baseball credibility (which the BBWAA always provided) is evolving too. The BBWAA will become a very different organization over the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years. I’m not saying the Hall of Fame wants to break their relationship with the BBWAA; I don’t believe that. I think the Hall of Fame very much likes its relationship with the BBWAA. But I do think they see changes coming and want to give themselves options. They have to position themselves for the future.

So, this is my theory: The Baseball Hall of Fame is making some smallish changes now to set itself up for bigger changes soon. I’m sure they would deny this, and I would bet even they don’t know what those changes are. But they’re coming. I think in 10 years, the Hall of Fame will have a more open Hall of Fame voting policy that the BBWAA will have a part in but will not control entirely.

In case anyone cares about what the Hall of Fame voting process could look like, I had some ideas here.

MLB says there is no “Shoehi Otani exception”

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Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?

Yesterday, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reported that there were potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Otani, and that Otani would, in fact, be posted to play in the United States for the 2017 season.

Now, however, Major League Baseball is pouring cold water on that:

Which is to say that, because MLB owners wanted to save money on international prospects, they have willingly adopted a rule that will keep top international talent from coming here when possible. Baseball officials want to grow the game internationally, they say. They just don’t want to pay to do it.

Baseball’s Most Handsome Managers

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 23:  Manager Brad Ausmus #7 of the Detroit Tigers smiles after a two-run home run by Victor Martinez that also scored Rajai Davis during the first inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on September 23, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers won, 7-4. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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OXON HILL, MD — This is the fourth year I have done these rankings (here’s last year’s). They started as a total lark, but I’m starting to worry that I have tapped into some sort of cosmic energy with them which somehow ties in with The Fate of Man.

I don’t presume that I have any power here. I’m just a conduit. All I know for sure is that, if I rank you in, say, the bottom ten on this list, bad things may very well happen to you. To wit:

I think the lesson here is obvious: be handsome. Everything else is secondary.

Which skipper is the most handsome this year? See below to find out. But first, the disclaimers:

  • No baseball manager is ugly. All of them have inner beauty, I’m sure.
  • This is a subjective list, obviously. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I will privately judge you for thinking unattractive managers are handsome, but that reflects poorly on me, not you. Let no one besides you dictate your feelings.
  • Finally, because some of you will inevitably offer a neanderthal comment about all of this, let me head it off by assuring you that this is merely a list of aesthetic handsomeness, not one of love or longing. I hate that even in 2016 I feel as though I have to say it, but I will say that I am a totally straight man making these judgments. If you find something wrong or amiss with that, I feel sorry for you. There is far too much beauty among people in the world for us to fail to acknowledge 50% of it merely because we’re worried about appearing less than traditionally masculine or feminine. Free your mind, the rest will follow.

The rankings:

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 04:  Manager Brad Ausmus #7 of the Detroit Tigers watches the action during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Comerica Park on April 4, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan. The Tigers defeated the Orioles 10-4. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

1. Brad Ausmus: Back on top after a one-year absence. I’m not gonna lie, I had no idea whether I’d put him here or give Mike Matheny a second year as my number one hunk. Two things happened last night, however, that helped me make up my mind.

First, just before going to dinner, I came across a late season photo of Matheny in which he was letting the mullet thing get out of hand (see below). Second, after getting back from dinner, I found myself standing next to Ausmus in the lobby of the Gaylord Hotel. He was with a group of friends, having a drink and chatting and, of course, was looking amazing. As I said above, I’m a perfectly straight dude, but even I can appreciate it when a man is in the 99th percentile of jeans-wearing. Indeed, the Tigers should change all coaches uniforms to jeans and a button down shirt next year and watch attendance soar.

But really, it wasn’t just the looks that put Ausmus back on top. It was how comfortable he is being a true Man of the People. A lot of the older managers hang out in the bars with the crowd at the Winter Meetings because they’ve seen it all and don’t give a crap. Bochy, Showalter, Leyland, Mackanin and those guys are always around. The younger set, who identify more with the front office types, are harder to find, presumably because they’re up in the suites with the suits, away from the hoi polloi.

Not Ausmus. He’s always down here with us plebes. He doesn’t give a crap, and there’s something dashing about that.

2. Mike Matheny: I’m gonna catch all kinds of hell from Cards fans for knocking Mathney down a notch after his first place finish last year, but I’m sorry, you gotta do something about that hair in the back, Mike:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Manager Mike Matheny #22 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on while the umpires review a call against the San Francisco Giants in the top of the third inning at AT&T Park on September 16, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Maybe that’s always been there, I don’t know. But I’m really noticing it now and, for as little standing I have to criticize anyone’s hair, I’m not prepared to make a mullet-wearing man my Most Handsome Manager. Don’t get me wrong: he’s still leaps and bounds more handsome than the 28 men below him. Ausmus and Matheny are in their own league. They should probably pull a John Laroquette and take themselves out of the future running in order to make it fair for the other guys. But you have to make distinctions somehow. Get a haircut and check back with me next December, Mike. Or maybe wait for Ausmus to get fired, which could totally happen in 2017. Then you can assume th top spot again.

3. Dave Roberts: A big leap from last year. As I’ve always said in these rankings how one carries oneself in the role of manager has a huge impact on one’s handsomeness, at least how I define it, so we had to see him in action before his ranking stabalized. Roberts came into a job with a stress level that made Don Mattingly look like this, often:

Ned Colletti, Don Mattingly

Roberts, however, dealt with the same stuff — the Yasiel Puig drama, the expectations that come with the Dodgers payroll AND he dealt with Clayton Kershaw getting injured — yet he always looked cooler than the other side of the pillow:

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16: Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts reacts prior to game two of the National League Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on October 16, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

That’s what handsome is.

4. A.J. Hinch: The chin dimple pretty much ensures that he’ll always be in the top five.

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 06: Manager A.J. Hinch #14 of the Houston Astros talks with the media before playing the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on July 6, 2016 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

 

5. Joe Maddon:

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 04: Manager Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs speakds to the crowd during the Chicago Cubs victory celebration in Grant Park on November 4, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs won their first World Series championship in 108 years after defeating the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in Game 7. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

A big jump for Joe who, in recent years, I’ve held down a bit because I felt like he was trying too hard to be the cool dad which, as a dad, I can tell you is never a great look. But as I noted with Ned Yost the past couple of years, winning begets swagger which begets handsomeness and seeing Maddon walking around the Winter Meetings this week with a championship under his belt has allowed me to see him in a different light. He’s still trying too hard — he was wearing some sort of down vest that looks like it came from Pro Glamping Illustrated or something — but when you win a World Series, you can wear whatever the hell you want and still look good.

6. Bud Black: A top-10’er in the first two years of this list due to his status as the Gold Standard of the Silver Fox set but, sadly, AWOL last year as he was without a gig. He’s back now, baby, with a bullet. Just saw him yesterday too, as he gave his first Winter Meetings presser as the Rockies manager:

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Nice blazer, Bud. Lookin’ good as always.

7. Ned Yost: Yost takes a tumble as the winning swagger from the past two Winter Meetings just isn’t there:

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The glasses are sliding down the nose ever so slightly. The body language during his presser was more clenched and less expressive than we’ve seen in the past. None of us deal well with adversity, but going from World Series champ to missing the playoffs has taken a subtle but perceptible toll on his Ned’s hunkiness.

8. Pete Mackanin: Pete has been hanging out in the bar here every evening with a group of people, one of whom I presume is his wife. They’re a happy bunch. Laughing and enjoying themselves, sitting at a table with some food as opposed to walking around with drinks. He dresses smartly. From what I’ve observed, he talks some, but doesn’t dominate the conversation. He may be the smoothest manager for a 90+ loss team I’ve ever seen.

9. John Farrell: Still looking good, even if he’s down a few notches.

10. Torey Lovullo: New kid on the block:

FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 28: Torey Lovullo #17 of the Boston Red Sox poses for a portrait on February 28, 2016 at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

It’s an open question if he’ll keep that smile on his face after being in charge of the Diamondbacks. That job probably takes a toll.

11. Terry Francona: He remains the Most Handsome Bald Manager in Baseball. At least I think so. I haven’t seen a pic of Lovullo with his hat off lately. If I remember correctly he’s receeding, but I don’t think he’s truly and fully bald yet in the way Tito proudly is.

12. Brian Snitker: Since he took over in May this is his first time in the rankings. As with any new guy, this could go in a lot of different directions going forward. On the one hand: piercing eyes and rugged jaw:

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 20: Manager Brian Snitker #43 of the Atlanta Braves looks on from the dugout before a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 20, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

On the other hand, he doesn’t really wear anger well:

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 23: Brian Snitker #43 of the Atlanta Braves reacts after being ejected by third base umpire Mike Everitt #57 from arguing the call on the video review initiated from Emilio Bonifacio #64 being called out at homeplate against Travis d'Arnaud #7 of the New York Mets to end the seventh inning at Turner Field on June 23, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

However:

KISSIMMEE, FL - FEBRUARY 25: Brian Snitker #43 of the Atlanta Braves poses during Photo Day on February 25, 2008 at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

If Snitker brings back that soup strainer one day, he may be a darkhorse top-five’er.

13. Andy Green: A guy with the cheekbones and jawline he sported a year ago. . .


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. . . should not be hiding it behind this much facial hair:

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - AUGUST 16: Manager Andy Green #14 of the San Diego Padres looks on from the bench in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on August 16, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Cliff McBride/Getty Images)

Clean it up, Andy.

14. Paul Molitor: He didn’t get uglier. Some guys just moved ahead. Even if he did get uglier, the memory of Young Paul Molitor will likely buoy him for years:

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15. Jeff Bannister: Many of you tell me that I’ve been underrating him:

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 02: Manager Jeff Banister #28 of the Texas Rangers looks on as the Rangers take on the Tampa Bay Rays at Globe Life Park in Arlington on October 2, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Fair. People underrate the Rangers every year too.

16. Joe Girardi: Holding steady with his intimidatingly strong arms.

17. Dusty Baker: Dusty can’t help being one of baseball’s oldest managers and time, of course, is undefeated, but he’s so damn comfortable and relaxed all the of the time that he’s way higher on this list than anyone his age has a right to be.

18. Craig Counsell: I suppose he is far more conventionally handsome than I give him credit for, but something about Counsell doesn’t sit right with me:

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 3: Manager Craig Counsell #30 of the Milwaukee Brewers spitswhile watching the game against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth inning at Busch Stadium on July 3, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

He turns 47 next season yet he still looks like that kid who hangs out in front of the drug store, opening Donruss packs and yelling “sweet!” after finding a Mark Grace Rated Rookie before peddling off on his Mongoose.

19. Bob Melvin: I feel like he’ll be the Oakland manager until he dies of old age, so it’ll be interesting to see him slide down the list as time takes its inevitable toll. Heck, given how the A’s seem to be tied to Melvin forever, maybe they’ll pull a Jeremy Benthem kind of deal with him and let him manage as a corpse in, like, 2059 or something. That would certainly impact his rating here. Though whether he’d go up or down I have no idea.

20. Kevin Cash:

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 1: Manger Kevin Cash #16 of the Tampa Bay Rays yells from the dugout during the third inning of game against the Detroit Tigers on July 1, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

I’ve never gotten the appeal. People tell me I’m so wrong on him and that I should have him in the top 10 — and I suppose there’s a “Mark Ruffalo avec Mail Pouch Tobacco” vibe to all of this — but I just don’t see it.

21. Don Mattingly: It was a rough year in Miami, especially at the end of it, for obvious reasons. Matingly has seemed to have his seasons end with some level of stress and tumult every single year. He hasn’t made his appearance at the Winter Meetings pressers yet, but I’m hoping he’s relaxed and recharging.

22. Bryan Price: I feel like this is the last year he’ll be on this list. Then again, I’ve been saying this for years.

23. Scott Servais:

scott-servais

“What is it going to take to get you into a new Buick? My manager says I can throw in the all-weather floor mats at cost!”

24. Buck Showalter: Showalter was poised to be way higher on this list and all he had to do was put that killer outfit he just picked up and he would’ve been gold. For reasons only he can explain, however, he left it in the drawer. Baffling.

25. Terry Collins: He already has gray hair, but at the moment it looks like a past-his-defensive-prime Curtis Granderson is going to be his everyday center fielder this season. If so, his gray hair may get gray hair.

26. John Gibbons: He’s not at the Winter Meetings this week due to dealing with a flu. This is what he looked like late in the season when he was healthy:

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 3: Manager John Gibbons #5 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on from the dugout during the first inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on September 3, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Imagine what Gibbons looks like sick.

27. Rick Renteria: Welcome back to the managing ranks, Rick. Baseball always needs a manager in your particular mold.

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 02: Rick Renteria #17 of the Chicago White Sox in the dugout before the game against the Minnesota Twins on October 2, 2016 at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

28. Bruce Bochy: Given the health scare last spring, allow me to say that I think Bochy is one of the most handsome men baseball has ever seen and the only reason he is listed at 28 right now is a computer glitch that is preventing me from changing it. Bad, computer! Bad! Bruce Bochy is an adonis! (no one tell him about this, OK?)

29. Clint Hurdle: Hurdle’s handsomeness is directly proportinal to his happiness. He has a very pleasant smile and gives off an admirable rugged charm when things are going well. But we all remember what happens when he’s angry:

Clint Hurdle red face.bmp

With the Pirates reportedly dealing Andrew McCutchen, one can only assume Hurdle is going to be angry more in 2017.

30. Mike Scioscia: All of these pictures came via the Getty Images search. When you use it, a search field comes up with all sorts of image options. This is one of the options:

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-12-54-43-pm

You may not like everything I do on this website, but you had better thank me for not unclicking that box and looking for Mike Scioscia nudes. That would definitely make a person . . . feel something.

TORONTO, CANADA - AUGUST 23: Manager Mike Scioscia #14 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim reacts during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on August 23, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)